George Washington: First Inaugural Address


George Washington delivered his First Inaugural Address on April 30, 1789, to a joint session of Congress in the Senate chambers in New York City’s Federal Hall. Believing that he would be elected the first president under the Constitution of 1787, Washington had asked his close friend David Humphreys to draft an inaugural address. Washington discarded Humphreys’s seventy-three-page draft, however, and asked James Madison to write a more appropriate address.

This simple, concise, well-polished address recognized the historical importance of the day and the trials to be faced in...

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George Washington's First Inaugural Address (National Archives and Records Administration)

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